National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2008

Development of the forecast propagation database for NOAA's Short-term Inundation Forecast for Tsunamis (SIFT)

Gica, E., M. Spillane, V.V. Titov, C.D. Chamberlin, and J.C. Newman

NOAA Tech. Memo. OAR PMEL-139, NTIS: PB2008-109391, 89 pp (2008)

The NOAA Center for Tsunami Research (NCTR) is developing an operational tool that provides quick and accurate tsunami forecasts known as Short-term Inundation Forecast for Tsunamis (SIFT). The SIFT system uses Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis (DART™), data inversion techniques, tsunami propagation estimates, and site specific inundation forecasts. SIFT is an efficient and accurate operational tool that can provide offshore forecasts of tsunami time series quickly at any specified site. Providing a quick tsunami forecast is possible with the aid of the forecast propagation database which is set up by pre-computing earthquake events using unit sources along the known and potential earthquake zones in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans. Currently 1160 unit sources have been simulated to provide Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian ocean coverage. Tsunami generation and propagation is simulated using the MOST propagation code. Exploiting the linearity of the generation/propagation dynamics, the propagation database can simulate arbitrary earthquake scenarios using combination unit sources that can accurately reproduce tsunami time series as validated with ten real tsunami events since 2003.

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